Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Islands, Inward Journeys, Infections, I Don't Know

(Ninth post in the A to Z Challenge)

 
"I don't know."



I utter this phrase a lot, and it gets me into trouble. I should probably know better. Socrates said, "all I know is that I know nothing." He was put to death. 
No man is an island...

To say, "I don't know" is not taken as open-mindedness, but evasion, or lack of effort. Life come with so many pre-packaged answers. Pick one, please. An open mind is an open wound. Grab a bandage. Disinfect.
Everybody's shouting, which side are you on?
The journey inward demands constant tolls paid outward. Community taxes our time. Our dreams. Hopefully it repays this some day.

never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.
Love is never selfish, but imagination, curiosity and creativity are.

Imagination expands the choices. We once had oracles and gods to line our paths and explain our fates. Glory and death at Troy, or a long life in the sticks. Now it is 'I don't know,' followed by 'What if?,' followed by 'Let's see,' followed by 'Let's try.'

'I don't know' is the first step into something different. It may look destructive. It may be destructive. I don't know. We can't promise with certainty. To bite from the Tree of Knowledge is not to gain certainty, but to welcome in more unknowing. To be an artist is to let the snake tickle your ear.

Uncertainty is psychologically traumatizing. See poor Ophelia. See mad Hamlet. See Doctor Faustus. Will we encounter the same? I don't know. Imagination lifts our eyes over the horizon, where we hope that paradise is hiding. I think I see hints of light.

But I don't know.

**


What's the one things you do know? Or one thing you don't know?

**

Image credit: William Blake: The Temptation and Fall of Eve - illustration to Milton's 'Paradise Lost' (1808, pen and watercolor on paper), from Wikimedia Commons

37 comments:

  1. The one thing I do know is that if I don't get off my butt, my writing career will never take off. I also know that if I don't get off my butt, it will continue to grow. ;)

    Great post! Just another A to Z Challenger stopping by...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. *laughing*

      Then I'll wish you luck in 'getting off your butt.'

      Delete
  2. 'Community taxes our time. Our dreams. Hopefully it repays this some day.'

    Hmm.

    ReplyDelete
  3. "I don't know" -- the start/finish line. Some people run the race, others count the laps. They both seem to end up at the same place, the start/finish line.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. What about those of us who trip and fall along the way? :)

      Delete
  4. I know that I love the energy of the A to Z Blogging Challenge, and I like your mythology inspired blog/post.
    Thanks for visiting & following my blog!

    Play off the Page

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Mary. That type of energy is certainly exciting.

      Delete
  5. I don't know much at all and I don't know that I know anything for sure. I constantly question myself and my life and often wish I knew what I was meant to be.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think this is often true of people with active minds. Sometimes it's a blessing, sometimes it feels like a curse.

      Delete
  6. I have no problem with "I don't know." I think it's usually the smart answer. What I don't like is "maybe." I'm a yes or no kind of gal.

    I love reading your posts. I don't know, they're so...imaginative. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm probably guilty of 'maybe' as well. Something to work on. Maybe. :)

      "I love reading your posts. I don't know, they're so...imaginative. :)"

      Thank you!

      Delete
  7. Hello, Hektor! All I know for sure is that I don't know more things than I should. But that's the wonderful thing about life: you can always learn, each and every day!

    Hope you're having a great week and happy A to Z!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi, Laura.

      "you can always learn, each and every day"

      Indeed. And I do try to do this. :)

      Delete
  8. This explains a lot. Every time I go to Walmart, that's the response I get when I ask for help. Evasion, indeed...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ha! I promise that was not me! I'm very polite and helpful in professional situations.

      Delete
  9. Every question I get answered leads me to more questions. The proverbial neverending peeling of an onion.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "Every question I get answered leads me to more questions."

      I think that's what happens when we ask the right questions...

      Delete
  10. Can we know anything for certain due to Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle? Everything we observe, we change...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Probably depends on where we set our threshold for 'certainty.'

      Delete
  11. I like a person who can admit s/he doesn't know something. I do it all the time. There's so much I don't know. Recently I wanted to write poetry, but realized I didn't know much about it. Now I'm taking a class.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Good luck with the poetry!

      "There's so much I don't know"

      Yeah, I realize that more and more each day.

      Delete
  12. But "I don't know" is so often the truth! I'd rather tell the truth then sound like somebody who's trying to sound impressive! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah, I understand why a dismissive 'I don't know' is frustrating (and I try to avoid those), but sometimes it's genuinely the best we can do.

      Delete
  13. I don't take I don't know as negative. You don't know what you don't know.
    What I do know - where I'm going when I die.
    What I don't know - if I will ever finish my third book.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "What I do know - where I'm going when I die."

      This seems rather Homeric. :)

      "What I don't know - if I will ever finish my third book."

      Well... I don't know for sure, but I think there's a darn good chance you will!

      Delete
  14. "All I know is that I know nothing" reminds me of my favorite quote: "There is no truth; there is only perspective," which if you think about it, is almost the same thing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well I don't know if I could take that far of a leap... :)

      Delete
  15. I'm going to have to pay attention now to see how often I say "I don't know." I'm not sure (I think I say that one often). What I do observe quite often is the tendency of many (commentators in newspapers are notable for this) to put things in two buckets--it's either this or that--but we don't live in a binary world. It's multifaceted, and the complexity is what's exciting. Curiosity and acts of imagination give us the best chance to get past that. Or at least I think so . . .

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "It's multifaceted, and the complexity is what's exciting."

      Agreed, and well-said.

      "Curiosity and acts of imagination give us the best chance to get past that."

      I like this notion as well.

      Delete
  16. When I think "I don't know", my next thought is "I'll try to find out".

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. A noble instinct, for sure. I don't think of 'I don't know' as a comfortable endpoint in many cases.

      Delete
  17. >"To say, 'I don't know' is not taken as open-mindedness, but evasion, or lack of effort."

    Great post, Hektor! Quite philosophical and very blunt. Love it!

    ReplyDelete
  18. Great post! I liked it too. I don't know a lot of things and mumble ''I don't know" a lot. One thing I don't know is what will happen in the future and I have a difficult time accepting that!

    Nikki – inspire nordic

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Nikki.

      "One thing I don't know is what will happen in the future and I have a difficult time accepting that!"

      Yeah, I think this one gets most of us. :)

      Delete
  19. I'm definitely happy to admit that "I don't know". Nor do I stress much about what the answer may in fact be. There's no point!

    ReplyDelete
  20. "There's no point!"

    Yet it's still so easy to stress over things...

    ReplyDelete

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